The Columbus statue near Coit Tower was covered in red paint on Sunday (Courtesy photo)

Columbus statue near Coit Tower defaced ahead of holiday honoring explorer

Vandal splashes figure with red paint, scrawls ‘kill all colonizers’ beneath

A statue of Christopher Columbus near Coit Tower was covered in red paint on Sunday as the Italian American community celebrated its history with a parade in nearby North Beach.

Whoever vandalized the Telegraph Hill statue scrawled anarchy signs around the base of the controversial explorer and wrote the words “kill all colonizers” in capital letters.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents the area on the Board of Supervisors, said he was alerted to the vandalism at around 9:30 a.m. and notified police.

“This is a shameful act of hatred and vandalism,” Peskin told the San Francisco Examiner. “Coit Tower is a destination for locals and visitors alike and defacing public property is just the lowest form of behavior.”

Peskin said there are security cameras near Coit Tower and that police are reviewing the tapes for survelliance footage of the incident.

A San Francisco Police Department spokesperson said police were aware of the incident and investigating but could not provide further information.

Tamara Aparton, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, said that crews were in the process of cleaning up the statue at around 1:45 p.m.

The Facebook page North Beach News posted photographs of the incident Sunday afternoon.

The news comes amid a national conversation around whether monuments depicting troublesome figures and periods of history should be removed.

In September 2018, San Francisco removed the “Early Days” statue near City Hall over concerns about the monument depicting a submissive Native American lying beneath a missionary and a vaquero.

Monday also marks the federal Columbus Day holiday.

In January 2018, the Board of Supervisors voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in San Francisco.

The supervisors made the change in recognition of the “historic discrimination and violence inflicted upon indigenous peoples in the United States, including their forced removal from ancestral lands, and the deliberate and systematic destruction of their communities and culture.”

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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